November is the month the annual Lifecycle Spring Challenge takes place. This is a weekend ride from Brisbane to O'Reillys 1000m up in the Lamington Mountains in the Gold Coast hinterland. Sunday sees the descent of the mountain and a flat ride home. This year saw the third edition of the event and unanimously rated the best by all who came.
All week the forecast was predicting a wet weekend and early morning weather radar confirmed a huge bank of rain heading towards Brisbane. Our main concern was to try and get on the road before it started. With this in mind the Wombles were lined up promptly at 6am for their departure. They had in mind two things....beating the rain and beating the fast group leaving 30min later!
A little later after packing the support van and getting last minute instructions we were away with our worst fears realised as light rain began to fall. However luck was on our side and the clouds lifted to a nice morning with a touch of tail wind to help us along. Our chances of catching the Wombles were dashed as we got a report from John Schaab , who joined us later that the Wombles were strung out in single file and appeared to be travelling at 40+!
Sure enough they still had a considerable time gap as we got to Canungra so were keen to head off soon after the main group arrived. After filling up on cold drinks and Paula's famous fruit cake a few started sneaking up the road that leads to the top of the mountain.
Not to be outdone the fast group took off soon after in hot pursuit and we were strung out ourselves as a few tried to make a break and get a headstart on the hill. All to no avail as we all came together at the base of the mountain. Here Simone, who had a wager with Blair the old fox as to who would be first to the top, took off in the company of Liam, Jason Reed, Matt Barnes and Major Dave. The rest were soon strung out like Browns cows.
Soon we were into the rainforest and the Wombles were getting caught. Rockin" Rod Stewart was taking his role as photographer fairly seriously and was stopping periodically to take pictures of the field going by....no wonder he was still pretty fresh at the top! A few more succumbed to cramp as the heat took its toll...by now rain would have been welcome!
Jason Reed took the honours at the top followed closely by Major Dave and Simone who had successfully negated Blair's challenge for the $5 wager. Over the next 20 min or so everyone made their way to the top, most in surprisingly good condition.Melissa was really impressive completing the ride to the top hardly out of breath.
After a lunch of sandwiches and fruit juice it was time for a rest. The Rainforest Villas were a huge upgrade on previous accommodation and well worth the extra cost. The showers were awesome and quite a few took advantage of the spa's on the deck. A big storm reminded us we were in rainforest and glad to have made it up in good time.
Soon it was time for Happy Hour in the Irish bar. As we had a couple of Irishmen in the party it didn't take long for a great atmosphere to get going led by Ray and Marshall. Major Dave came through again with cheese and crackers and after a few cocktails the pain of the ride up was remarkably diminished.
The highlight was still to come. Major Dave had called on all his army trained catering skills and put on a magnificent buffet BBQ. There was way too much food and a few were quietly pleased it was a 30km descent in the morning to start off!
Morning dawned and the rain was largely gone with a lot of clouds and mist about. The less adventurous took off a bit early as the roads are rough and windy as well as still wet from the previous nights rain.The pace picked up at the back and a few egos were being tested and some rode a little beyond their limit at times. One Jason Moore, in a valiant attempt to be first down slid out on a corner near the bottom resulting in some nasty wounds and cuts. A ride in the van with Dudley into Canungra was required in case of concussion but after a Big Country Breakfast at the cafe he declared himself ready for the ride home!The Wombles again headed out looking to make good time with the tail wind. The main group took a bit longer route up through Beenleigh before coming back in through Logan Rd. as usual taking a refreshment stop under the freeway near Loganholme.
Once again the Wombles showed the benefit of another year of training under the belt and were waiting at Lifecycle for the "fast" guys to show up. Time for a few tall tales and then home to rest. Once again a great weekend. Major thanks to Major Dave for his work in the catering department and also to Dudley Cowan who did a great job as support driver. Without that we would not be able to have the ride.